Be the Change Careers

The Scarcity vs. Abundance Mentality in Career Coaching

There is an old adage “As a man thinketh so he does.” This saying underscores the magnitude of the mindset for successful behavior. It all begins in the brain. Today we’re going to be looking at the scarcity mentality and how it applies to career coaching, how to overcome it and replace it with an abundance mentality that breeds success. The need for competent career coaches is an urgent one in our country, alone, not to mention the potential for international clients. There are over ten million job openings in the United States presently and the Great Resignation is accelerating this number daily. At the seat of all this uncertainty lies an incredible opportunity in career coaching now and into the future.

Identifying the scarcity mentality

Many of the individuals who are looking for new or different employment need professional guidance and that’s where an effective coach comes into the picture. Even with this abundance of opportunity, there is a scarcity mentality that has long been entrenched within our coaching belief system and hinders our efforts to successfully market our services. As professionals, we are continually reminded by our professional community and our training that marketing our services and making money is not only distasteful, it is also viewed as being counter to our helping values. This negative mindset deeply embedded in the coaching profession ends up sabotaging our efforts and contributes to our work being devalued by others in our society.

Helping professionals that succeed

Career coaches like other self-employed helping professionals often sabotage their efforts at making a healthy living by not practicing prosperity-generating mindsets. Oftentimes they are not aware of or taught systematic sales processes so they continue to hope that their commitment to helping others and doing good work will simply attract other clients.

By shifting your sales viewpoint from “I am pushing something onto someone” to “ I am helping others determine if my services are right for them,” you can begin to integrate your commitment to helping with your need to sell. Try approaching every sales discussion with a potential client by looking for ways to help — no pitches, hidden agendas, or pressure to close the deal. You will likely find that you feel good about what you are offering and it is helping them with their needs. 

To truly succeed one must make a shift in their mindset to think like a business person and consider themselves to be the sales executive in their own business.

The scarcity mindset often occurs on the subconscious level. Many times, we’re not even aware that the scarcity mindset is derailing our progress. If left unchecked, the scarcity mindset can have a host of unsavory consequences. When a career coach gets stuck in this mode of thinking it can destroy coaching productivity, revenue generation, and viability. The implications for your career coaching practice could be huge. Scarcity thinking can result in fewer clients, a lower client conversion rate, decreased leads, and less successful prospecting. 

What’s A Scarcity Mindset?

A post on Evan Carmichael’s website summarizes the term quite succinctly:

“A scarcity consciousness is keenly aware that there is never enough to go around. Never enough money, resources, freedom, love, opportunities and other good things. A scarcity consciousness feels anxious, fearful, hesitant, desperate and constricted. The glass is always half-empty from this perspective, and all you can see are problems and challenges.”

It’s the classic glass half-empty mentality and is inherently pessimistic and risk averse in nature. It’s the difference between saving and investing, between hanging on for dear life and reaching new heights.

What does this negative mind-set sound like when you are thinking about starting a business?

These are all scarcity thoughts. They’ll kill your career coaching business if you let them!  Here are a few more examples of the contrast in thinking between the two mindsets:

Scarcity  Abundance
“Sharing ideas or knowledge about what works for your business will only help the competition have a greater advantage.” “Sharing ideas or knowledge about what works for your business allows you to gain knowledge, support, and a community of synergistic problem solvers to help everyone’s businesses succeed.”
“I started my business six months ago and it still isn’t booming.  I guess this isn’t going to work.” “I just started my business six months ago and already I have had two clients! I just need to keep asking for feedback and advice to continually learn what is working and what I need to change to make it better.  It takes time to build a successful business!”   
“I don’t know anything about marketing or sales and I can’t afford to pay someone, so I simply can’t do it.” “I will seek advice and guidance from other seasoned coaching business owners on how to create a good basic marketing plan to get started and grow from there.”
“There are so many other coaches that are better at this than me; no one would buy my services!” “I will focus on learning what serves my client’s individual niche best, and what makes me a powerful coach.  That will help me to identify what I uniquely have to offer.”

Consequences of a scarcity mentality

People with a scarcity mindset seldom thrive because they’re locked in a constant state of fear that leads will dry up, they won’t get enough paying clients, won’t be able to make a living, and so on. The problem is that this tends to create a vicious cycle that will go on indefinitely.

Someone who is operating with a scarcity mindset needs to save time, save money and be productive because she views the world around her as a place of scarcity, need, and insufficient time or resources. Even something as innocuous as a sales quota could produce a scarcity mindset.

The emphasis on saving is a symptom of scarcity thinking. We can think of it as “downstream thinking”. The idea of being pulled along by events, focusing on keeping your head above water rather than striking out on a self-determined course. That focus on saving contrasts with the attitude you’d have if you had a plan and were expecting success. Then, you’d be moving upstream, focusing on your goals, and investing time, effort, energy and even, money into a better tomorrow.

The problem is, if you didn’t do that yesterday, today’s going to be that much harder, and the temptation to slip into a scarcity survival mindset will be even more powerful.

“Most days,” says Alice Kemper, “everyone is guilty of going about their business to put out fires and get through the to-do list.  Just doing the same things day in and day out keeps us stagnant or moves us downstream.” While qualities like being productive and efficient may be good, be aware that they could be masking something that’s not good: the scarcity mindset. People with a scarcity mindset will be stuck, hesitating to take risks and engage in an open-ended way.” 

What’s An Abundance Mindset?

To quote Carmichael again:

“An abundance consciousness knows that scarcity is just an illusion. It is firmly rooted in the belief that there is more than enough for everyone. It trusts in a never-ending flow of prosperity and joy, so it can take its time and enjoy every moment. An abundance consciousness feels light, expansive, freeing, peaceful, joyful, and harmonious. An abundance consciousness sees the glass not just as half-full, but full to the brim and overflowing from a constant stream of abundance, love, well-being, and all good things.”

People with an abundance mindset are always confident that there will be plenty of clients to go around, they will be successful at obtaining paying clients, and that they’re fully capable of not simply meeting their goals, but exceeding them.

A career professional with an abundance mindset thinks like this:

Adopting an Abundance Mindset

It would be great if you could just snap your fingers and instantly shift from a mindset of scarcity to abundance. Of course, it’s not that simple. It’s hard to sustain a long-term commitment to abundance and success. It’s not about optimism or anything that you can offer people from a podium. Like most things in life that are worth doing, this is a process that takes time and effort. You essentially need to retrain your brain and develop the habit of thinking abundantly.

The first step on this journey is to simply become aware of self-defeating thought patterns. Maybe you’re thinking that you’ll come close to meeting your new client goals or a better, more experienced coach is going to swoop in and steal the lion’s share of your demographic. It’s important to become mindful of these thought patterns. The reality is you can’t fix a problem if you don’t first admit that there is one. 

A Caveat

It’s important to note that developing an abundance mentality doesn’t mean that there will be 100% smooth sailing from here on out. You’ll naturally make mistakes and run into roadblocks. But with the right mindset, you’ll experience these as feedback about your planning and execution. They will be lessons to be learned and applied for success, not more trouble and difficulty.  

A successful transition to the abundance mentality

With enough practice, you can ditch the lackluster results of a scarcity mindset, and an abundance mindset will become like second nature.

Just imagine the following start to your week:

You wake up in the morning, your calendar is bristling with potential clients and existing ones. You’re convinced that you’re going to improve people’s lives, provide meaningful coaching and make a positive difference in someone’s day. You’re going to convert potential clients into paying clients, provide excellent coaching to your existing clients and accept the abundance that’s coming your way. You have shifted from scarcity thinking to an abundance mentality.

There are several ways you can begin to adopt an abundance mentality. Look for our next blog where we drill down on this topic. Many coaches don’t know where to start to create an abundant coaching practice. Learn more about how you can develop a successful coaching practice with our Empowered Entrepreneur Program. Click here to learn more.

Update! Our Empowered Entrepreneurs Program (EEP) has been renamed to Kickstart Your Private Practice (KYPP).

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